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What are the best single end headphone amplifiers? (for orthodynamics and high imped. headphones)

Discussion in 'Headphone Amps (full-size)' started by wind016, Apr 24, 2011.
  1. wind016
    As far as I'm aware, it seems that the Schiit Lyr and the Meier Concerto are really great amps for the price. What else rivals them or beats them for $1000 when primarily running single ended?

  2. project86 Contributor
    My favorite is the Violectric V200 for single ended under $1000. Should have my review up within the next few days.
    Other good ones I've heard are the DarkVoice 337SE (great soundstage), Meier Concerto and HeadAmp GS-1 (very clean and neutral), Burson HA-160 (warm and fun). But the V200 is better than all in my opinion.
  3. wind016
    O wow.  Thanks a lot! I am definitely looking forward to your Violectric V200 review as I have not heard that brand before. It seems to have many good comments from what I can find and it's recommended for the HE6 too.  Do you think the Violectric V200 may be the only amp out of these choices to power the HE6 well? I'm not really looking to get a HE6 soon, but kind of want to future proof myself in case.
  4. dallan Contributor


  5. FrostyMMB
    The GS-1 is a top performer for it's price range and class. I've preferred the performance of discrete solid state over opamp based designs myself. I previously owned a Meier Prehead for a couple years and thought it was excellent, though. 
  6. brasewel
    This is a tough question. Are you asking tube or SS and at what price. Best SE SS amp irrespective of price is most likely the B22 3CH while the best SE tube amp is probably the Eddie Current Zana Deux. If we're limiting ourselves to under $1k the concerto, GS-1, burson, lyr are definitely top contenders for SS/hybrid amps while the WA-6SE, DNA Sonnett, HifiMan EF5 are probably the best tube amps under $1k.
  7. winma
    There are nice contenders on that price range. My vote goes to the Burson HA-160..its a versatile amp and can drive most headphones. 
  8. project86 Contributor
    One thing to consider is that (if I remember correctly) the OP recently sold his Woo WA6SE because the built in amp section of the Anedio D1 is just about as good. So some of these amps might not even be much of an upgrade anyway.
    I only recommend the Violectric V200 if you actually need the extra power over the Anedio's amp section - you mentioned the HE-6, and I don't think the Anedio is up for powering that (nor are most of the other amps mentioned here). If I never planned on running any Orthos, 600 ohm cans like the T1, or other difficult to drive models, I'd be content with just the D1. 
  9. jcx


    the question is pointless without a headphone  model to give required I,V gain, noise requirements - headphones vary so much in drive requirement that different amps are a requirement for "best" performance - you will hear hiss in a JH13 hooked up to an amp that can drive the HE-6 to full power
  10. Skylab Contributor
    The Woo Audio WA2 is a truly excellent single-ended amp in the $1K price range. 
  11. Uncle Erik Contributor
    You'll have trouble finding a great tube amp under $1,000. The best ones usually use output transformers, which eat a lot of the cost of construction. If you want other niceties, like DC on the filaments, chokes, and other things that improve the power supply, you'll run up $500-$1,000 in parts before you even get to the case or labor.

    But there are lots of nice solid state offerings. I'd drop $300 on a Dynalo before considering any of the cheaper tube amps. The M^3 is quite special, too, and I've seen them go around $500 if you don't DIY.
  12. MacedonianHero Contributor

    x2 :D
  13. wind016
    That's interesting that you say that. The way you always praise tube amps, I would have thought you'd side with tube amps for this situation. I guess there's a price point that must be met.
    I guess the question is "What are the best single end headphone amplifiers for orthodynamics and high ohm headphones?" I want to know what can cover what the Anedio D1 or similarly decent amplifiers can't power.
  14. estreeter
    I like where the other thread is going - hooking the planars up to the speaker terminals on entry-level speaker amps. Bags of power - have no idea what it sounds like, but it has been done many times before. Two amps for the price of one and no agonising over whether the headphone out is 'decent'.
  15. brasewel


    The WA6 and Ming DA are probably the only good tube amps worth mentioning under $1000. I would think SS amps offer better value for your money at this price point. 

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